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Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus)
Birds Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus)

General Description: Marbled Murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) are dark little seabirds that are the northern hemisphere counterpart to penguins. During summer, Marbled Murrelets are dark above and marbled brown below. In winter, the dark below turns to white, and they show a bit of white on the folded wings (scapulars).

Taxonomy: Charadriiformes, Alcidae.

Favored Habitat: Marbled Murrelets are a species of the open Pacific Ocean and Pacific coastal areas.

Where to Find: Don't look for Marbled Murrelets around Las Vegas. Rather, look for them along the coast of Oregon north to Alaska.

Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus)

Comments: These little birds are interesting in that they live on the open ocean, but return to land and nest in old-growth redwood forests. They build nests and raise offspring on branches in the tops of the trees, often many miles from the ocean. When the fledglings are ready to leave the nest, they must fly all the way to water, otherwise they fall into the forest and die.

Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) Marbled Murrelet populations in Oregon and Washington are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act because of declining numbers. Their primary threat is the loss of nesting habitat in old-growth forests to logging. In addition, habitat fragmentation due to logging has lead to increased human presence in nesting areas. Following the humans and supported by food scraps left by campers and loggers, Common Ravens, Steller's Jays, and crows have increased in numbers in Murrelet nesting areas and have increased predation on Murrelet chicks. As experienced by Desert Tortoises, numbers of these predatory birds increase in the presence of humans, and then eat more and more of their offspring.
Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus)
Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 120903

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